Trendy fashion accessory, the Moroccan babouche has inspired Hermes a few years ago and more recently Chanel and Christian Louboutin.
In Morocco, talented designers decline the shoe in various colours and all kinds of materials.
Consequently, this traditional shoe has become much more than a simple slipper.
The word “babouche” is composed of two parts: pa (foot) and push (cover), which simply means shoe.
Commonly called «belgha» or «charbil» in Moroccan language, the babouche fits adult and child, male or female.
THE MOROCCAN BABOUCHE MAKING
The babouche making draws its inspiration from Moroccan ancestral know-how. Babouches are decorated with patterns, embroideries and pompoms shaped by maâlems (master craftsman).
Up to now, babouches are made by two craftsmen: Maâlam “Assarrame” (the decorator) and Maâlam “Chrabli” (the shoemaker).
Today, passionate and creative designers endlessly revisit the shoe. So is my friend Cécile Houizot. Under the name of CEO (Compagnie d’Extrême Occident) she brings back to life the emblematic works of Frida Kahlo or Mondrian, at the feet of her worldwide clients. Jouy canvas and Manuel Canovas fabrics are transformed under her magical fingers. Available on order or at Medin’Art on Talâa Sghrira in Fez medina.
Art and manner of the babouche of Fez!
The traditional shoemakers of the gold embroidered babouche of Fez, hold an ancestral know-how and display unlimited imagination for always surprising their customers with design and models of high quality handwork.
These craftmen contribute to the international aura of Moroccan craftsmanship, by turning this slipper into an iconic item from the luxury shoe industry.
The babouche from the Middle Atlas.
Not so long ago, in the country side, the babouche was the main shoe for women.
Today, it still remains, quite often, used as a main shoe by many women in the Middle Atlas.
There are two kinds of babouche in this region. One with a small heel and a pointed toe and the other one, flat with a round toe.
All are made with goat leather. Today as before, the “Chrabliya” craftsmen, continue to source from traditional tanneries.
THE MOROCCAN BABOUCHE, A CHAMELEON LIKE ACCESSORY
The babouche meets all needs and all uses: ceremonial shoe, indoor shoe or common shoe to use outdoors.
As a fashion accessory, the Moroccan babouche matches just as much with an elegant luxurious caftan, as with pajamas or jeans.
I remember my wedding day, when my mother-in-law ended up swapping her designer pumps for a nice pair of gold embroidered babouches, after dancing too much, too long.
As for my husband, from London, to Zürich, he has always kept a nice pair of black suede babouche under his desk, not hesitating to wear them, for comfort, with his suit and tie.
THE MUST-HAVE MOROCCAN BABOUCHE
If you have only one purchase to make in the medina of Fez, then it definitely has to be that one.
Traditional, little space-consuming and quite cheap, the babouche is the ideal gift that fit effortlessly in a suitcase.
You will find the colourful bazaar of the «babouche makers» in the gallery, next to the Karaouyine mosque.
A pair of nice nice quality babouche should not cost you more than 130 Dhs, or even less if you master the art of bargaining.
You are now ready, for a babouches shopping spree !